Ovid and the Moderns

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9780801442742: Ovid and the Moderns

"The reasons for the conspicuous popularity of Ovid―his life as well as his works―at the turn of the new millennium bear investigation. . . . This book speaks of the new bodies assumed in the twentieth century by the poems and tales to which Ovid gave their classic form―including prominently the account of his own life, which has been hailed by many writers of our time as the archetype of exile. . . . I intend to suggest some of the reasons for Ovid's appeal to different writers and different generations."―from the PrefaceTheodore Ziolkowski approaches Ovid's Latin poetry as a comparatist, not as a classicist, and maintains that the contextualization of individual works helps place them in a larger tradition. Covering the period 1912–2002, Ovid and the Moderns deals with the reception of Ovid and of Ovid's works in literature. After beginning with a discussion of Giorgio de Chirico's Ariadne paintings of 1912 and the Hofmannsthal-Strauss opera Ariadne auf Naxos, Ziolkowski considers European literary landmarks from the High Modernism of Joyce, Kafka, Mandelstam, and Pound, by way of the mid-century exiles, to postmodernism and the century's end, when a surge of interest in Ovid was fueled by a new generation of translations. One of Ziolkowski's conclusions is that the popularity of Ovid alternates in a regular rhythm and for definable reasons with that of Virgil.

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About the Author:

Theodore Ziolkowski is Class of 1900 Professor of German and Comparative Literature, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He is the author of many books, Ovid and the ModernsClio the Romantic Muse: Historicizing the Faculties in Germany and Hesitant Heroes: Private Inhibition, Cultural Crisis, all three from Cornell.

Review:

"Ziolkowski hails a new Ovidian age, a revival that he traces . . . to the eve of WWI. . . . But Ovid enters more directly into modern literature in the person of James Joyce's Stephen Daedalus. . . . Ziolkowski uncovers a daunting profusion of writings of Ovidian inspiration and, as usual, treats the reader to a great banquet of themes and titles to be perused in further readings."―Choice May 2005 42:9

"The sweep of this brief book is impressive. Ziolkowski glances at music, painting, and sculpture and tracks such literary phenomena as influence, education, taste, and vogue. . . . Ziolkowski writes clearly, as Ovid would like, and to the point. The prose is jargon free. . . . Ziolkowski is learned, serious, and loves Ovid, though slightly less than he loves Virgil."―Willis G. Regier, World Literature Today, September/December 2005

"This is, to my knowledge, the first truly comprehensive study of modern American and European literary writings inspired and enlivened by their authors' readings of Ovid, the poet of the Metamorphoses. Theodore Ziolkowski has painted a picture of Ovidian influence against the background of political metamorphoses in the Western world, and the result is every bit as vivid as Ovid's portrayal of gods, heroes, and mortals."―Niklas Holzberg, author of Ovid: The Poet and His Work

"In Ovid and the Moderns Theodore Ziolkowski focuses on the works that Ovid inspired in twentieth-century Europe, introducing the reader to new writers and their creations and to new analyses of more familiar texts. He thus offers a rich, fascinating, comparatist approach to the modern reception of arguably the greatest of the Roman poets, Ovid."―Carole E. Newlands, Department of Classics, University of Wisconsin–Madison

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